Former Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell signed with the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday evening, pending a physical examination. He will compete for the third spot behind Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley on the NFC South roster.
At 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, the No. 23 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft tore up SEC defenses and became one of the most accomplish receivers in school history while in Oxford, but never quite blossomed on the next level.
Treadwell played in 53 games during his tenure with Minnesota and recorded 65 catches for 701 yards and only two touchdowns. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has been known to take a patient approach with his young talent, and Treadwell was limited in his play over the course of his rookie year, before command of the playbook, route running and the dropsies hindered his ceiling over his next three seasons. It certainly didn’t help his cause that Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs emerged as one of the NFL’s best receiving duos.
Many questions can be asked as to what happened with Treadwell, and whether the blame should be pointed at the player, the Vikings’ front office, the coaches, or circumstance, but his athleticism is undeniable and the Falcons are willing to take a flier.
At Ole Miss, he finished as the school’s all-time leading pass-catcher with 202 receptions for 2393 yards and 21 touchdowns. A horrific leg injury cut his 2014 season short, but Treadwell bounced back and dominated the SEC in 2015. Earning the nickname “Megaquon,” he caught 82 passes for 1,153 yards and was named one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the best wide receiver in college football, and a first team All-SEC and All-American selection.
Yahoo! Sports football writer Matt Harmon looked at his tape and had high praise for the former five-star recruit out of Chicago.
“Treadwell posted an above average success rate vs. coverage score on all three of the downfield routes—the post, nine and corner,” he said. “The player with 4.63 speed wins downfield. Being a vertical threat is just as much about deception and the receiver’s work within the first ten yards of a route as it is about running fast. Treadwell routinely wins off the line against press coverage, and doesn’t tip his routes. In fact, he sells the defender on the idea he’s stay shallow before shuttling downfield. He utilizes that same deception with the subtle head fakes to send a corner one way before breaking the opposite direction to earn separation.”
Treadwell had an uncanny ability to locate the football, out-work his defenders and contort his body to bring in the catch.
Though his speed was questioned at times, Treadwell still consistently burned his defender.
His physicality was unmatched.
Every 50-50 ball that went his way, he caught.
Every. Single. Time.
When it comes to downfield blocking, Treadwell could rewrite the encyclopedia.
He consistently worked his way back down field, got in front of the defender and laid a perfectly clean block to the ground.
Yall, he blew people up.
Oh, and he played a little bit of quarterback in high school, so he can sauce defenses up in the backfield when his number is called.
Treadwell etched his name into Ole Miss history, and will forever be remembered for the role he played in beating Alabama in back-to-back seasons and getting the 2016 Rebels to the Sugar Bowl. What will come from the former first-rounder in the ATL is to be seen, but no matter the outcome, he is worth a chance.